Welcome to American Homestead. I'm happy you have found my blog. Make yourself comfy and see what's been happening around here. I write about the things that interest me ~ creativity, travel, food, nature and a happy life. I'd love to read your comments.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Rathskeller ~ Indianapolis

Now that we are back to living in the
Honeymoon Cottage, we try to get out
on the weekend and have lunch at a
restaurant we have never been to.
Today's choice was the Rathskeller
in Indianapolis.  It is located in a
castle-like building that was designed
by Kurt Vonnegut's grandfather.
This is a huge place that has a bit of everything.
A rustic bar area.
A bit more formal dining room with wood
paneled walls, walls painted with German
phrases (does anyone know what this says?),
and a fireplace carved with demons.
If you like beer, they have plenty to
choose from.
We had the Jaegerschnitzel with sauerkraut
and German potato salad.
We also tried Kassler Ripchen, it was a
pork chop with a raisin, apple and walnut
sauce with spaetzle and potato pancake.
The food was not as good as what we have
eaten in Germany but how often will you
find a restaurant serving Jaegerschnitzel
in the USA?
An added plus is just down the street is
one of my favorite shops.  I showed Mr.
Wonderful some great gifts for the future.
Update:  This is the photo of the Jaegerschnitzel
I had a few months ago in Bacharach, Germany.
It was lecher ~ right Regina?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Elle's Kitchen: Food Find

Isn't it great when you come across a favorite
food item that has been made even better?
Recently Mr. Wonderful was going to the
grocery store, I noticed in the weekly ad that
pistachios were on sale, so I told him to pick
some up.  Now, I must let it be known that I
love pistachios, they are delicious, pistachio
is even my favorite flavor of ice cream though
sadly, I can rarely find it in the Midwest.
So, Wonderful comes home with the pistachios
and says, "oh no, I didn't realize they were Sweet
Chili flavored!"  I thought, "Oh no?  What could
be wrong with that?" Oh no ~ oh heavens, they
are fabulous!  If you can find them give them
a try.
For those who may not be as practiced in the art
of pistachio eating as I am, here is a little tip to
get them open without breaking your nails ~ or
worse.  Let's face it, how many times have you
heard the words pistachio and chipped tooth in
the same sentence?  NEVER open a pistachio with
your teeth, the pistachio will eventually win.
Instead, hold the whole pistachio with 2 fingers
and with the other hand use an already broken half
shell and pry the shell open as shown (I was taking
the photo, so sorry for the one handed demonstration).
It is simple, it works well and it will save you lots of
money on dental bills so... you can buy more pistachios!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's A Date!

We were up and out the door just after
sunrise today.

We got a hike in early since it was going
to be in the 90's today.  And we had a
special day planned.  Wonderful was off
today and he rescued me from my cell, um...
 studio and took me out for a date.
We had a Thai lunch,

maybe because the temps felt as hot as Thailand.
We had some shopping to do after lunch
because in 2 weeks we will be here.  Of
course, we only bought a stack of books.
Then we enjoyed the cool darkness of
a movie theatre and saw Woody Allen's
new film, Blue Jasmine.
A great day!

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Natural Confusion

Hey Mother Nature, what is going on???
For the past few weeks it has been deliciously
cool.  Far too cool for mid-August.
I loved it... waking up and wanting to
stay in bed with the covers pulled up
because it was so chilly that early in the day.
I just got back from a hike and it is
roasting out there.  The weatherman
says this may be the hottest week of
the year!
But the leaves are changing color and
beginning to fall.
Acorns have started dropping.
Some berries are drying but I think most
of them are being eaten by the birds.
I love finding feathers, I think it is
good luck.  This one was stuck in a
tree trunk.
No, too early.  I'm not ready to be thinking
about Christmas and snow yet.
Now it is time to settle in with my field
guides and ID everything I've found.

Friday, August 23, 2013

What is a Trunk Show?

In my world, a trunk show is a situation where
I send out original works to a shop so they can
display them.  Patterns always sell better when
there is a sample.  Shop owners do not have time
to make a sample of every pattern they buy.  This
collection is shipping out this morning and will be
traveling around the country for the month of
September going to various quilt shows.  I try to
include examples of various colors, I show the
feltworks as ornaments, d├ęcor, framed and as
pincushions.  I mainly work in wool felt but I show
one done in felted wool for those that prefer that.
I also send an example of one made with beading.
If anyone is interested in an American Homestead
trunk show, just email me at:
ellen.americanhomestead @gmail.com
Sorry for the uninspired photo but this was shot
just to show what will be sent in the package.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Time For A Change

We are missing something in our lives...
It has been a busy month so far, but around
here it is always busy...  Both of our kids went
back to school and last week we celebrated our
23rd anniversary and 23 years of our life in
the Midwest.
We have become so busy that we are
forgetting to do the things that bring
us the most joy in life.  Things like just
strolling around the garden and enjoying
the beauty of the blossoms.
I guess we have forgotten to take the
time to smell the roses...
We don't want to miss the radiance of
the sun coming through this blossom.
So we will be making some changes, we
are heading down to Mexico in a few weeks
and plan to discuss what we want in our lives,
what we can leave behind and how to make
that happen.
Spending more time roaming the woods
with our best friend will certainly be
on the list.
We were in Amsterdam recently and we had
breakfast with a young couple from Australia.
We were discussing the meager vacation time
Americans have compared with the rest of the
developed world.  The young woman said in
Australia the ethic is work hard, but play harder.
I like that idea.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dixie Diary ~ August

Confederate Silver
We are quilting along with Barbara Brackman's
Block of the Month, Dixie Diary.
This is how I made my block.  It may differ
from the original.
Fabric Requirements:
Fabric A & B:
1 - 14'' square each - mark a
diagonal line on the back of the
lighter fabric.
This is a very easy block since it is just
a quarter square triangle.
Pair the blocks with right sides together and
sew 1/4'' away from each side of the drawn
line, cut on drawn line and press seam to
the darker fabric. 
Mark another diagonal line as shown above
on the back of one of the half square triangles.
Place the half square triangles with right sides
together  (you want the lights and darks to be
opposite each other)  and take care to have
the opposing seams "lock" together, this will make
for a precise block.  Sew 1/4'' away from the new
drawn line, cut on drawn line and press final
seam open to reduce bulk.
You will have 2 blocks made but only need
one for this project, save the other for another
use.  To square this block to 12 1/2'', you need
to place a 12 1/2'' ruler so the diagonal lines of
the ruler rest on the sewn seams and then be sure
to position the 6 1/4'' intersection of the lines on
the ruler in the center as indicated by the arrow.
Then trim all 4 sides.
This is what your block will look like.
I have added the sashing and the appliqued
heart to my block as described in the January
Dixie Diary instructions.
Make multiples of this block for a
quick and easy quilt.

Add some sashing to change the look.

Rotate the blocks in alternate rows
and introduce some more color.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Elle's Kitchen: Crostini

Around our American Homestead we love
nothing more than a delicious Mediterranean
style lunch.  And crostini should always be a
part of that lunch.  They are easy, inexpensive,
look great and work perfectly for transporting
food to mouth.
Take a nice baguette, I use the ones from
Trader Joe's or Panera Bread and slice very
thin, about 1/8  to 3/16 of an inch.
I use my olive oil sprayer which I find to
be one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.
They are quite inexpensive and you get
to use your own choice or olive oil instead
of a bunch of chemicals. Anyway, place bread
on a baking sheet and give a very quick spray.
Place under the broiler and keep the door open,
it only takes a few minutes.  I like mine to be
 golden and not brown.  Take out, flip and toast
the other side for a minute or so.
And this was the lovely lunch we enjoyed.
A delicious spinach salad, crostini, a few
cheeses, olives and a couple of tapenades.
My new find ~ the Roasted Red Pepper and
Artichoke Tapenade from where else?  Yep,
Trader Joe's!
Look at that cheese on the left, it is heaven
on a plate... Mr. Wonderful & Brennan were
heading home from Indiana University after
dropping off the first carload of college stuff
and decided to stop at TJ's.  We live about 40
minutes away from our Trader Joe's so we stop
in when we are in the area.  Wonderful called
and told me told me he picked up a Brie with
mushrooms that they were sampling that day. 
I told him to put it back.
I know the heavenly cheese when I see it but
couldn't remember the name.  I described it to
him but he wasn't finding it.  I told him I'd call
him right back, I called someone and pulled them
out of a Broadway show pre-set to get the name.
Yes, it's that good...
And the name you may wonder?  It is:
Le Delice de Bourgogne!
Don't eat it cold!  Wonderful put it on the ledge
of the back window of the car for the ride home
and it was soft and creamy and... heaven.